Briefs: Forest projects; Yellowstone tourism spending drops
Bitterroot National Forest seeks public comment on four fuel-break projects
Montana Public Radio | By Edward O'Brien
The Bitterroot National Forest is seeking public comment on four proposed fuel-break projects aimed at protecting communities and infrastructure from catastrophic wildfire.
The Rye Creek, Sleeping Child, Soda Baker and Sula projects are in the Darby-Sula and West Fork Ranger Districts.
The state has identified these areas as having high wildfire risk and significant forest health concerns.
Under the proposal, mechanical, hand thinning and prescribed burning may be used to reduce fuel loads.
Each fuel break may be up to 3,000 acres in size with a maximum width of 1,000 feet.
The Forest Service is authorized to reduce fuels in areas close to important infrastructure like roads and power lines without needing to conduct a full environmental review
Comments are due by September 14th.
Flathead National Forest seeks public comment on a proposed logging project
Montana Public Radio | By Aaron Bolton
The Flathead National Forest announced Friday that it is seeking comment on a proposed logging project east of the Hungry Horse Reservoir.
The Dry Riverside Project would harvest roughly 4,200 acres. The project would include temporary roads, but the U.S. Forest Service said motorized access wouldn’t change.
The agency said the project aims to encourage tree diversity while maintaining large species resistant to fire and insects. The project will also include the planting of white bark pine, which is listed as a threatened species.
The comment period lasts through Oct. 1.
Yellowstone brings in one-third fewer visitors and dollars spent last year
Montana Public Radio | By Austin Amestoy
The park closed for more than a week in June 2022 during historic flooding. That dampened total visitation a year after the park set an all-time record.
Glacier National Park’s visitation and visitor spending was down about 5% from 2021.
Nationwide, however, national park tourists spent nearly $24 billion in local economies, which is a new high.